Amtrak train derailed near safety device

Amtrak is investigating after one of its passenger trains derailed near Chambers Bay in Steilacoom. There were no serious injuries - but it's not clear how the train came off the track

An Amtrak train that derailed near Steilacoom came off the tracks in an area where BNSF installed a safety device that intentionally derails trains when the bridge is up.

It's unclear what, if any, role that played in the derailment.

Amtrak and BNSF are still investigating the derailment on the Amtrak Cascade line at Chambers Bay. There were no serious injuries, but it's still unclear how the train came off the track.

BNSF owns the railway and crews have been working to repair the track. Trains ran at reduced speeds through the area Monday.

A spokesperson for BNSF said over the next three years, BNSF plans to spend more than $500 million for rail safety improvements in Washington state.

Related: Amtrak train derails in Steilacoom, no serious injuries

People who have boats at the nearby marina are used to watching trains go through the area.

Karen Vincent and her husband have owned a boat on the marina for the last 35 years. She said she has never seen a train derailment near Steilacoom.

"It’s kind of like when you are in an earthquake, and you feel it more than you hear it," Vincent said. "That’s what it was like because they're huge; those trains are huge."

She and her husband have a boat at the marina where the train derailed. He was out on their boat yesterday while she was at the dock near the lift bridge.

"They stop the trains both directions, and then they open the bridge, and you come and go, and then they lower it," she said. "Boats had just come through, they lowered it."

After the bridge had lowered, she said her husband saw a train coming.

"He thought to himself I wonder why that train is going so fast? He thought that was strange and all of a sudden he saw the crash and saw a big plume of smoke," she said.

A bridge operator monitors the process when the bridge is lifted up and down.

"The bridge tender was there,” Vincent said, “he jumped in the water because the train was coming at him so my husband fished his flashlight and stuff and hat out of the water."

© 2017 KING-TV


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